Recent Posts

RecQ Proteins: Masters of Genome Surveillance

Wiedemann et al. show that RecQ6 in Physcomitrella enhances homologous recombination and gene targeting https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00632.  Background: All living cells have mechanisms to protect their DNA against breaks during duplication and against damage by UV-light or chemicals. RecQ helicases…

The Long and the Short of It: GA 2-oxidaseA9 Regulates Plant Height in Wheat

The discovery of semidwarfing genes in wheat and rice was a crucial turning point of the Green Revolution in the late 1960s. The Green Revolution aimed to maintain per capita food supplies worldwide despite the projected doubling of global population by the end of the 20th century. Its main features…

Speed breeding is a powerful tool to accelerate crop research and breeding

Nat. Plants. The current rate of crop plant breeding, limited by the long generation time of crop plants, is insufficient to address the needs caused by the enormous increase in the human population accompanied by climate change. Watson et al. have recently presented a method called ‘Speed breeding’…

Disruption of actin filaments in Zea mays by bisphenol A depends on their crosstalk with microtubules

Bisphenol A (BPA) is known for its negative impact on mammalian cell lines and, recently, as an emerging environmental pollutant. BPA, readily taken up and metabolized by plants, results in many growth and developmental defects, from disrupted mitotic microtubule (MT) arrays to altered calcium fluctuations…

An oomycete plant pathogen reprograms host pre-mRNA splicing to subvert immunity

Phytopthora sojae poses a serious threat to soybean production world-wide. This oomycete pathogen has a wide arsenal of effector proteins, some of which have been functionally characterized for their virulence role. Huang et al. characterized and demonstrated the functional role of an avirulence effector…

Review. Genomic selection in plant breeding: Methods, models, and perspectives

In future years, climate change may cause significant economic losses to countries worldwide. Consequently, genetic improvement of crops fit for drought-stressed and semi-arid regions is becoming a must. In this review, Crossa et al. assess the advances in genetic selection (GS) and genomic-enabled prediction…

A MicroRNA Affecting Grain Yield in Rice

MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of abundant small noncoding RNAs, have been identified as important regulators of gene expression in plants, affecting many aspects of plant development. Recently, several miRNAs have been reported to regulate rice grain yield. A previous study revealed that miR397 regulates…

Complex evolutionary history and targets of domestication in the cultivated potato

Potatoes originated in the Andes of southern Peru, and are now the third most important crop for direct human consumption. Hardigan et al. sequenced 67 potato relatives, including South American landraces, North American cultivars and wild-diploid species to learn about the genetics of modern potato’s…

Duplication of an upstream silencer of FZP increases grain yield in rice

The trade-off between grain size and number has been traditionally hard to break.  Bai et al established that differences in panicle architecture between two rice cultivars resulted from duplication of a long-distance silencer of the FRIZZY PANICLE (FZP) gene in one cultivar (Chuan 7).  Increased silencing…